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Hazardous industries still some way off full compliance with ATEX mandate

27 July 2009

The Europe & Middle East market for ATEX-certified hazardous area equipment is expected to exceed €2.5 billion in 2013. Market growth will primarily be in the pharmaceutical, oil and gas industries.

Hazardous industries still some way off full compliance with ATEX mandate
Hazardous industries still some way off full compliance with ATEX mandate

After extensive consultation with manufacturers of hazardous area equipment, IMS Research found that growth in this market depends heavily on the price of oil as it determines the investment capabilities and resources of companies in the oil and gas industry.

Extraction and refining of oil is a very lucrative market and companies involved in this industry often benefit from large investment resources. Market research analyst, Marc Fernandez, commented “As existing oil reserves are consumed by modern industry there is an ever growing need for companies in the oil and gas industry to invest in new refineries and platforms located in ever more hostile environments. This requires increased investment in equipment that is certified for hazardous areas to ensure both compliance with relevant legislation and to assure the safety of their workers. Over the next five years, hazardous area equipment used in the oil and gas (offshore) industry is expected to grow by an estimated €100 million which highlights greater investment in more hostile offshore environments.”

With the use of hazardous area equipment set to increase over the next five years it is important to understand how aware of mandatory legislation the end users are.

IMS Research has recently surveyed users of equipment in hazardous area in Europe and the Middle East. Almost one quarter of respondents were unaware of the mandatory requirements of the ATEX 137 Directive.
The ATEX 137 Directive is an EU standard with which end users are required to comply. Report author, Marc Fernandez, commented “It is important for end users of equipment used in hazardous areas to be aware that the requirements of the ATEX 137 are mandatory and policing of these standards by governing bodies is growing year by year. The results of the survey also indicate that one-fifth of respondents believed their site did not comply with the ATEX137 Directive, which is a serious issue; as this can potentially compromise the safety of employees.”

The report also touches upon the issue of manufacturers providing customised “total” solutions for customers. Fernandez continued, “The growing complexity of legislation associated with hazardous area equipment makes it difficult for end users unfamiliar with the ATEX directive to understand exactly what equipment is acceptable in specific areas of their site. Many manufacturers are alleviating this burden on end users by providing customised solutions which meet their specific requirements. This approach is beneficial for both parties as it allows the manufacturers to tie in different products in a total solution as well as providing end users with the assurance of meeting EU standards and having technical support on hand from specialists in this field”.

This view is backed up by results from the survey of end users whereby technical support was highlighted as the single most important non-technical factor when purchasing hazardous area equipment.

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